Thursday, February 01, 2007

Still Going & Still Getting Worse . . . a thought on peace from Merton

UN Envoy Says Conditions in Darfur Make Children Especially Vulnerable

01 February 2007
VOA News

The U.N.'s special representative on children and armed conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, says boys in Darfur are increasingly being recruited into armed groups, while the threat of sexual violence against girls remains a top concern, .

The U.N. envoy says that, at an official level, the Sudanese government has shown greater recognition of threats to children but said little has changed on the ground.

Coomaraswamy charged that both the Sudanese government and rebel groups in Darfur are guilty of recruiting children to fight alongside adults.

She said, "Independent monitors have pointed to us through verified data that child recruitment is increasing in Darfur and that all parties to the conflict engage in child recruitment."

Coomaraswamy says sexual violence against girls is also continuing in Darfur.

"Medical reports and other forms of verifiable information show that there are high rates of sexual violence," she said. "We again repeat that a security framework is absolutely necessary that is more protective of women and children."

The Darfur conflict will soon enter into its fourth year.

Sudan is charged with arming Arab militias, known as janjaweed, to crush a 2003 rebellion.

Rebels complained remote Darfur was neglected by Sudan's powerful central government.

Experts estimate 200,000 people have died and more than two-and-a-half million others have been displaced in Darfur and eastern Chad.

"We prescribe for one another remedies that will bring us peace of mind, and we are still devoured by anxiety. We evolve plans for disarmament and for the peace of nations, and our plans only change the manner and method of aggression. The rich have everything they want except happiness, and the poor are sacrificed to the unhappiness of the rich. Dictatorships use their secret police to crush millions under an intolerable burden of lies, injustice and tyranny, and those who still live in democracies have forgotten how to make good use of their liberty. For liberty is a thing of the spirit, and we are no longer able to live for anything but our bodies. How can we find peace, true peace, if we forget that we are not machines for making and spending money, but spiritual beings, sons and daughters of the most high God?"

Thomas Merton. The Monastic Journey. Patrick Hart, editor. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1978: 62..


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